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Prince Caspian reprises success

Movies rarely manage to combine action sequences suffused with catapults and swords with a developed storyline marked by complex allegory. However, the newest sequel out in theaters brings all of these ideas into a kid-friendly epic.

After monumental success with the first Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, its sequal, Prince Caspian, attempted to surpass the effort with a new installment in C. S. Lewis?s saga.

The creators came very close to succeeding.

The movie opens with an intense rivalry among the Telmarines, a race of humans now ruling Narnia. The rightful king, Prince Caspian, and his uncle, the evil usurper Miraz, are engaged in a Simba versus Scar-like complex. This includes Miraz trying to kill Caspian when his son is born, hoping to take the crown.

Caspian escapes to the woods, where he discovers the hidden Narnians driven from their homes. He decides to help them and fight against Miraz in order to regain the land that is rightfully theirs.

At the same time, the heroes of the first movie, Peter (WIlliam Mosley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy Pevensie (Georgie Henley) begin to wish they could return to Narnia. While in the Underground, they are suddenly transported to a beach in the far-off land.

After a chance meeting with Caspian, the Pevensies, who are Narnian royalty, team up with him in order to defeat Miraz and save their kingdom.

The fierce struggle wages for most of the movie, beginning with an attempted siege of the Telmarine castle. Later, several to-the-death challenges between good and evil propel the film to its climax and beyond.

The special effects, acting skills and action that endeared the first movie to viewers remain consistent. The addition of Ben Barnes as Caspian transitions smoothly. Though his faux Italian accent comes and goes, the cast melds quite well.

The cinematography, lanscape and effects are stunning, leaving the viewer not sure where actors end and centaurs begin. The forests, Miraz’s castle, and the battlefield in Narnia are startlingly real, giving the movie a tangibility that often eludes fantasty pictures.

Despite it’s endless credentials as a fantasy, action and allegoric film, Prince Caspian disappointed me on one point. Although the movie is jam-packed with colorful characters, from the Pevensies and Caspian to the dwarves Trumpkin and Nikabrik, the sequel failed to capture the human qualities the first so well displayed.

The struggles and triumphs of major characters are well documented, but battle cries and shooting arrows far overwhelm dialogue and all themes are communicated through war.

I also wish each storyline, could come across more than simply a lukewarm romance between Caspian and Susan.

Through a steady script and a he movie perfectly captures all that the books signify. Dubious movie-goers should not be dissuaded by the legions of fans based on superficial preferences. Prince Caspian is truly a quality movie for its visual excellence and swift-moving storyline. Along with its predecessor, Prince Caspian will remain a classic until creators spin out another sequel to the franchise.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is playing at all local theaters. For show times, visit Fandango. For more reviews, visit Rotten Tomatoes.

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